The past decade has seen a number of well-established plant hire companies either closing their doors or being absorbed into larger organisations. In the face of the economic strain suffered by the country, Burma Plant Hire has managed to not only remain sustainable, but has grown its offering and footprint.
Founded in 2003 by Theuns Burger, with a facility in the Western Cape supporting five employees and three items of plant, Burma Plant Hire now has branches in the Eastern and Northern Cape as well as in Gauteng. “Our growth can be attributed to two predominant factors – uncompromising customer service and a fleet of quality, application-specific equipment,” says Burger.
“Not only do we surround ourselves with high-quality equipment from reputable suppliers, but the service they are able to offer us matches our own uncompromising customer service philosophy. It is important that our suppliers have a substantial stockholding of the necessary consumables to support their products, as we simply cannot entertain downtime,” Burger points out.
Burger explains that the current fleet of 250 items of predominantly large capital equipment is regularly updated as new technology becomes available. “The JSE-listed Raubex construction group has a substantial shareholding in Burma Plant Hire. This provides us with the financial backing of a solid company and allows us to leverage the large customer base as well as the business and technical acumen within Raubex."
“We were in the fortunate position that we had amassed a large variety of plant in the run-up to the 2010 World Soccer Cup. This allowed us to strategically implement our plans to expand our operations by opening a branch in the Eastern Cape in 2008, followed by one in the Northern Cape in 2010."
“Ultimately, the success of these operations led to the opening of a branch in Gauteng, which is headed by my son Jurg. The construction and civils sector remains our primary target market, but we have been able to increase our reach in the mining sector through Burma Mining,” Burger says.
The company has large, well-equipped workshop facilities at all its branches that are manned by a team of highly-qualified mechanics and technicians. The company also owns 20 field service vehicles, which are fully equipped with all the tools and consumables required to undertake basic on-site repairs and maintenance.
All equipment operators in the company undergo both Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and in-house training and the company is in the process of launching an operator apprenticeship. “This will allow us to attract and retain fledgling equipment operators, in a field that is currently desperately lacking a succession programme. We also expose all of our employees to a stringent health and safety programme to ensure that they comply with on-site OHS regulations as promulgated by Government,” says Burger.
“Sustainable plant hire operations are created by people who have an unswerving passion for yellow metal. Half measures will not suffice and it is important to remain open to changes in both business and technology innovations,” Burger concludes.